Friday, December 30, 2011

Hastings bookstore- authors beware!

Recently I praised a company, Buck Knives, for their excellent customer service. Today, I will scold another company, Hastings, for a lack of customer service.

As you know (I hope) I have written some books. I placed 5 copies of each title in the local Hastings store. Here is the email I sent to their headquarters back on November 17, 2011- after several months of getting nowhere with the local management:

To Whom it May Concern,

This is in reference to the Hastings store in Clovis, New Mexico.

I have some books I authored on consignment at that store. I am having a lot of problems that have not been solved or adequately addressed.

The "book manager" position keeps changing, and with the change comes different rules. The "book manager" is also very hard to catch at work. For months I was not able to connect with her and my messages were never answered with a call.

About a month ago I was finally able to catch her (the current book manager at the store). She seemed genuinely interested in helping me, but the records for consignment books and sales were in shambles. The contracts for some of my titles were completely missing; with no record of my books ever being in the store. I was able to find the books on the "local authors" shelf, but two titles (out of 5) were missing. Of those which were missing, I was told that one title had been mailed back to me. I never received them, nor did anyone contact me about this. I would have gladly come to the store and retrieved them. I never got any answer as to what had happened to the other missing title, even though I was told that they would find out and call me.

I was asked to fill out new agreements for the books for which there was no longer any record of them being in the store. Which I did. At this time I was also told I must come in and check on sales every 30 days, which is not a problem as long as someone is there who can help me.

I did get paid for 3 books which records showed had been sold since I was last paid.

Today (Nov. 17, 2011) I went back in to check on sales. Once again the book manager was not there. And no one else really knew what was going on.

Now I can find none of my books in the store, and records indicate none of them are in stock, nor did they sell. It was mentioned that the books may have been destroyed in the latest inventory. I paid for those books out of my own pocket, and had anyone called me at the phone number which was on every consignment agreement, I would have come in and picked them up.

Needless to say, I am very unhappy with the situation.

I appreciate Hastings' willingness to sell the books of local authors on consignment. Many other chains simply refuse to do so. However, I can't afford to simply donate my books to Hastings.

Is there anything that you can do about this problem?


Kent McManigal
Farwell, Texas

Here is the reply I got:

We apologize for your experience at this location. Please know that the information that you have provided has been forwarded onto the correct individuals so that the necessary actions are taken.

You are a valued customer in our stores, and we hope that you will continue to give Hastings the opportunity to provide your home entertainment needs in the future.

If you need anything further please don't hesitate to contact us. Otherwise, no response is needed.

After much more of a runaround, the final answer I got from the local store can be summarized as "tough luck". They won't pay for the books that went missing. They won't accept responsibility for the disappearance.

So, customer beware.